Birds and overheating - ie. how does a scarlet chested parrot deal with

Subject: Birds and overheating - ie. how does a scarlet chested parrot deal with 46 deg
From: Donald Kimball <>
Date: Tue, 3 Feb 2009 19:47:08 -0800 (PST)
While having the joy of watching a male scarlet chested parrot almost at my 
feet last week I noted a few things:

First at 46 deg Celcius even a heat tolerant neophema like the SCP can only 
handle so much.   At the risk of this sounding a bit like a fairy tale I was 
literally standing watching honey eaters in an area I had seen the SCP days 
before when I caught a flutter of colorful motion.   It was a male SCP which 
flew in and landed about 5 m from me.  Its body feathers were tight against its 
body and its wings held way out from its body as well.   It seemed to squat for 
a bit then skittered toward the direction of the base of a mulga.   Amazingly a 
2nd male SCP flew in out of nowhere and proceeded to battle with the first 
male.  They made a variety of high pitched neophema like calls and then after 
flying at each other with open beaks and skittering about chasing each other a 
victor was declared (I couldnt tell who won to be honest) 

The victor then proceeded to a shady spot in the sand and lay there for a 
minute.  Then it proceeded to scratch and kick sand with its feet with its 
breast sitting in the sand.  Over the next few hours that I watched, the bird 
gradually dug itself a deep enough pit all I could see was its bright blue 
head, green back and tail.  Its gorgeous scarlet chest and the rest of the body 
hidden.  It stayed like this for about 3 hours only stopping occasionally to 
rotate its body and kick out more sand as if it was regulating the very 
temperature of the sand.

When it first began all of this I thought it was dust bathing.  As best as I 
can determine it was acting like an overheated canine on a hot day and trying 
to dig where it was cool to avoid the heat.

If anyone else has more knowledge about this behavior in neohpemas I would be 
delighted to hear.


Don Kimball

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